Lack of fresh air “seriously detrimental” to children’s health in prison

The latest inspection report on Feltham young offender institution states many boys have less than 30 minutes daily access to fresh air. Inspectors from the Care Quality Commission considered such deprivation to be “seriously detrimental to the health, development and wellbeing of growing boys”. Apparently the prison has now moved to a system of 60 minutes of exercise a day for these 16 and 17 year-olds.

Inspectors repeat their strong recommendation that boys should not be held in the segregation unit, which also detains young adults. This recommendation was first made after an inspection in January 2013.

The segregation of children had increased by 37% since inspectors were last on the premises. Boys can be locked up for as much as 22 hours a day, in cells that have no electricity. The environment is “grim and featureless” and follows the adult prison regime, inspectors say.

In the foreword to the report, the chief inspector of prisons, Nick Hardwick, praises some “impressive” staff and managers working in the prison, noting that “all too often the boys [the prison] holds have been written off by community agencies”. He also states the resources and staffing within the prison are “insufficient for the task”.

Read the inspection report here.

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